The power of poetry to bring about change is indisputable. Be it political crises of the past or global health crises such as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, poetry is capable of altering the mood.
Bollywood actors and poets have been taking to social media to share verses about the situation, urging people to stay strong.
The most recent contribution comes from 'Andhadhun' actor Ayushmann Khurrana, who shared a video of him reciting his ode to essential service providers, calling them Frontline Warriors.
In his poem, Khurrana talks about how the collective behaviour of mankind has brought on this unfortunate situation and how we all want to rewind to the time of normalcy. The actor urges people to respect doctors, nurses, police and security guards even when things are fine.
“Mujh jaise Bollywood hero hain bas naam ke (We Bollywood heroes are heroes in name only),” says the actor. “They are putting us and our lives before theirs and we should respect how they are fighting to keep us all protected,” he asserts.
Last month, megastar Amitabh Bachchan also took to social media to express his views on COVID-19 with a dash of poetry. The actor recited a poem in the Awadhi dialect on precautionary measures in the current situation. The 77-year-old reminded people not to touch anything without washing hands.
“Hum kahen chalo hamahu kar det hai jaisan bole sab. Aave da corona vorona, thengwa dikhaub tab. (I said let me follow what people are saying. Let corona vorona come, I will defeat it),” Bachchan recited.
Poetry has not only creatively documented history through the ages, but has also spread hope. “Even in solitude, poetry never abandons you. We have seen in the past that poetry has been used to bridge the gap between the present situation and the bright future. This is what is happening now. Actors are also using verse to express themselves,” says internationally-acclaimed poet Sonnet Mondal, who himself has penned verses on the deadly virus.
Former secretary of the Sahitya Akademi, Eastern Region, Angshuman Kar, has also written some poems about the present situation and its impact on the common man.
“I am writing on whatever I am seeing around myself. The plight of people is forcing me to write poems. The way people are trying to help each other across the globe is also motivating me to write,” says the poet, adding
“My creative instincts are inspiring me to think of the post-Corona world as a borderless universe and I want to convey the same to the people through my poetry since it’s the best source of expression.”